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Peer to Peer Networking for Road Traffic

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the look-for-gridguide-coming-soon-from-saeder-krupp dept.

Networking 125

alecclews writes "The BBC is reporting on some German research to allow the exchange of information between road vehicles about travel conditions using peer to peer networking (I assume some sort of mesh). Cars or bikes experiencing problems would pass data that would ripple down the chain of vehicles behind them. 'For example, cars could spot oil on the road by combining temperature readings with wheel traction information. A wheel slipping on the road even though the temperature was not low enough for frost or ice would suggest oil or another slippery substance was present. Once a car detected this sort of danger, information about it would be generated and passed down the line of vehicles approaching the patch of oil.'"

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125 comments

good and bad (5, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18390995)

Could prevent pileups at the least. Of course anyone with such a system could potentially be tracked.

Re:good and bad (5, Funny)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391017)

Even better. If your late for a meeting just fire up a laptop and tell all the cars that there has been a major crash.

Everyone avoids it allowing you to get to your meeting in time.

Re:good and bad (1)

mcalwell (669361) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393047)

The whole point is that one individual node doesn't get to make any decisions.

Exactly (1)

JavaRob (28971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393383)

If any single car were trusted by the rest, any jokester could cause chaos on a whim.

On the other hand, with a convoy of friends (perhaps "haha, you opened the sexy_pix.gif___.pif attachment in your MS Outlook Ford Edition" friends)....

Re:good and bad (2, Interesting)

joshier (957448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391061)

It's not a matter of choice, cars will be able to be tracked at some point, but I think there may be choice for a while

What I do think though, is that I've always thought about this kind of system, whereby if there is a care accident, each car that is surrounded is alerted and the driver is made fully aware.
As for traffic accidents in the UK, I think this system would be very welcome.. Personally, I would very much welcome a system like this ... not everyone is 100% fully aware and even when we are, we sometimes panic because we have too little time to make a wise decision.

Re:good and bad (0, Troll)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391743)


>It's not a matter of choice, cars will be able to be tracked at some point, but I think there may be choice for a while...
--

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/15/vehicle_mo vement_database/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:good and bad (1)

joshier (957448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391971)

Every law is broken once in a while, and just for the record - there was a stupid amount of people signing the government partition to ban this, it was an amazingly high statistic..

Don't expect people to gladly hop into this system, there will be back clash, maybe even a major one which revokes the plan and prevents it for the future... this is a maybe, but on the other side is the opinion that it will be definitely implemented and therefore not much to do about it, though I disagree with the last statement... I do expect it will be implemented, but just as there are back clashes with other schemes like speeding, there will be demand for a work a round.

As a final note, as we all know, our government is corrupt and only carries out actions with money incentives... If there's a large enough demand from the public side, then that will either fuel a rejection and/or a work around.
I'm not saying your every Tom Dick and Harry will be able to easily hop onto this 'alternative', because it might even be made illegal at some point, but rather that the people who are very cautious and have a hatred for this scheme would find a way around it.. it'll be the minority of the population no doubt.

Re:good and bad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391179)

i would like to see this used with a heads up display on the windshield to mark the dangers (like oil or ice), thereby avoiding annoying computer voices, alarms, idiot lights that we all ignore, etc.

probably a little further off, but i think a better system.

Re:good and bad (1, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391183)

Here in the UK our traffic cameras are about to be upgraded to included license plate identification.
There are probably more cameras than cars on the road.
Do you think they need to put something in your car to know where you are?

Re:good and bad (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391227)

Your points one by one.

1) Maybe true. Irrelevant to the topic being discussed

2) Nonsense. Stop talking shite

3) Irrelevant to the topic being discussed.

Goodbye

Re:good and bad (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393113)

There are probably more cameras than cars on the road.

There are roughly 6000 cameras [speedcamerasuk.com] on UK roads. Compare to 33 million [whatcar.com] cars. Stop spreading FUD.

Do you think they need to put something in your car to know where you are?

If you're going to implement road pricing, then yes. The alternative is installing cameras on every road in the country.

Re:good and bad (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394097)

Hang on, whilst I might not be totally correct about the number of cameras I was not just talking about the static single image speed cameras.

Along almost every stretch of major road there are controllable video traffic cameras which relay information in real time (the police ones on masts and the others on bridges above the carriageways).
It is these cameras which are being adjusted to track plates.

Re:good and bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391335)

Hope you don't own a cellphone.

Re:good and bad (2, Interesting)

Cstryon (793006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391565)

I could see more bad.
A car in front if me gets the signal there is an oil slick comming up, that guy is gonna change lanes to avoid it completely. I could get the signal just after him, and so on, everyone will want to change lanes. And of course if someone behind me wants to change lanes and drive faster then everyone else, sideswipes, people getting cut off, panic. It just sounds like a bad idea all together.

Re:good and bad (0, Troll)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391753)

I could see more bad.
A car in front if me gets the signal there is an oil slick comming up, that guy is gonna change lanes to avoid it completely. I could get the signal just after him, and so on, everyone will want to change lanes. And of course if someone behind me wants to change lanes and drive faster then everyone else, sideswipes, people getting cut off, panic. It just sounds like a bad idea all together.
--
Yeah, just a good big accident because of ignorance of the fact with a 10 hour lockup like nowadays is much more fun.

Re:good and bad (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393757)

Fortunately any decent peer-to-peer system has methods for controlling such threats.

The need for data to "change lanes" is an extremely common occurrence in peer-to-peer networks. Modern peer-to-peer systems generally handle the situation extremely well. The fact that your computer doesn't instantly crash with thousands of requests whenever you join a gnutella network shows that the concept is well handled.

The German system described in TFA seems designed to stop everyone instantly switching lanes, as one would expect.

Re:good and bad (1)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391933)

Could prevent pileups at the least. Of course anyone with such a system could potentially be tracked.
Or cause pileups?? Most of the people currently on the road barely know how to use their turn signals, much less their FM radios...

-Tom

Re:good and bad (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392277)

(I assume some sort of mesh)
Really? I would think a bus topology would be more appropriate. Arr, arr

Re:good and bad (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393673)

Could also cause pile-ups, as someone gets a warning that there's oil on the road ahead and slams on his brakes "just to be safe". The traffic patterns formed by drivers who can only see a short distance ahead can be frustrating, but at least they're fairly consistent and predictable. Introducing widespread limited clairvoyance of this sort would change that, and not necessarily for the better.

Great idea! (5, Funny)

NtroP (649992) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391033)

Now any idiot with the right cantenna can bring any highway to a crawl by inserting bogus messages into the mesh. "Look out! Slippery road. Warning, stopped traffic ahead. Pull over, emergency vehicle approaching from behind. Look, Elvis!"

Re:Great idea! (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391071)

exactly, they'll have to put up "terrorists take note of new driving technology" signs along the road reminding them that they can bring all the traffic in America to a standstill with pretty cheap hacks. Plus that's just one more chip to fry with EMP. Of course, I'd love to rig it to send custom messages to other drivers lmao

Re:Great idea! (2, Interesting)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391131)

Personally, I think more people will be interested in redirecting traffic around the rounds they drive on, especially in rush our.

Re:Great idea! (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391317)

They would ban any such system that let people decide what got sent. Mostly because people would warn others about traffic cops, decreasing revenue.

Re:Great idea! (4, Insightful)

NtroP (649992) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391389)

They would ban any such system that let people decide what got sent.
Right, 'cause this system will never be cracked and "banning" something automatically stops people from doing it, right?

Re:Great idea! (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392113)

You could build a cryptography obsessed system where hacked boxes have their certificates revoked. Hell, any new system should have stuff like this, it's not like public key crypto and signing is computationally expensive these days.

Look at the hooters on the babe in that 'vette! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391371)

17-car pileup on the freeway, cause unknown...

Re:Look at the hooters on the babe in that 'vette! (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392125)

Easy to avoid that, the in car could detect erratic behaviour from nearby humans, and warn the other cars not to let their humans get too close. The cool thing is that they wouldn't have to know why at all, their neural networks could just learn that they were carrying *something* that drove the other drivers wild.

Re:Great idea! (4, Funny)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391457)

"Soon, our vehicles will all drive themselves."

"Soon, our vehicles will all talk to each other."

Soon, our vehicles will all get tickets for driving while talking on the phone.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392337)

I think its great to know that a denial of service attack may oneday be the leading cause of car crashes.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Alky_A (1015285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391533)

I can think of a few ways to reduce this problem: - Using the majority opinion (reduces response time) - Flagging vehicles as trusted/untrusted based on their history (history could be a majority opinion) - Only trusting 'certified' sources like police vehicles (reduces effectiveness) - Ridiculous sentences for anyone caught doing this (the least effective solution) Hopefully this issue is one of the first things considered before deploying a system like this!

A similar objection (4, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391551)

We once had this idea for a global voice network. Everyone would have a number and accept calls by default, and people could talk to each other. One guy on Slashdot knew better, though. He informed us that people could call businesses with bomb threats, for example, and disrupt the economy. Adults could call children and try to abduct them. Random businesses could harass individuals with marketing calls. Loopholes abounded and there was no way to fix the system without breaking it more.

We would have called this a telephone network, but we had to give up on it since its security was obviously so flawed. Thankfully that guy on Slashdot saved us all that wasted infrastructure money. Nothing good would have come of it anyway.

Re:A similar objection (0)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391941)

Last I looked, people use phones to make bomb threats, and companies use them to harass people.

Re:A similar objection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392021)

--Woosh--

(oh, and thanks for the insightful comment!)

Re:Great idea! (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392425)

First, possibly multiple vehicles might need to "confirm" the event, and every vehicle builds a reputation eventually.

This 'reputation' can be used to "deal with" folks abusing this system to generate false or deceptive signals. Depending how the system gets put into place, it could also be made such that it would be a FCC rules violation + federal crime to generate signals by unauthorized equipment (I.E. anything other than your vehicle itself, operating normally, as approved, without end-user modifications).

If just one vehicle is determined as having generated many false signals, the others should learn to ignore it, and learn to report it automatically to the authorities, the owner, and make the information available to any mechanic/dealer that the owner may call upon to service the vehicle (in response to the notification of the probable malfunction).

Second, each vehicle's system will need a X.509 certificate issued by the state linked to the license plate # and registration#, when the vehicle is registered. And all messages verified and digitally signed. Of course CRLs will be shared between vehicles also. And any vehicle giving consistently bad information gets a notation registered on its certificate, or maybe a revokation of its registration and certificate.

That way if someone is going to send a bogus message, they have to identify themselves. Eventually their bogus messages will cause them to have to have their vehicle's system inspected for defects, and eventually revokation of their registration (and ability to legally drive that vehicle).

I suppose this means the vehicles will also need a considerable amount of persistent memory to store such records.

I spy, mit mein kleines Auge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391039)

...multiple opportunities for collaborative traffic disruption, by hackers as yet unborn!

Four pieces of data and repeaters (5, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391047)

I've been thinking about this one on occasion for a few years now...

The only things that need be passed along are current GPS location ( deliberately imprecise by about 20ft ), current velocity ( deliberately imprecise by about 10mph ), last 5 secs acceleration on all 3 axes and a time stamp.
The other function that a car should do is listen to the traffic going the other way and pass on an average of what it hears. ( This averaging function is crucial. It enables velocity and location to be reported without giving up evidence of speeding.
As an example: northbound traffic reports the four pieces of data. Southbound traffic listens to it and averages it. A minute or more later the southbound traffic repeats that to the northbound traffic who are soon to encounter the situatuion. It keeps repeating it - interspersed with other data about other locations - with decreasing frequency as it gets further away.

Re:Four pieces of data and repeaters (1)

joshier (957448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391095)

It's an interesting system, but I think it could go even further..

For example, how about an automatic control system for the car, where if there is an accident, (for example, each car has a monitor which can sense the cars tilt... ) If a car is at a major tilt, each other car around a mile gets alerted, each car right next to it and in front of it automatically slows down/alerts the driver in a more serious manner.
In a more serious accident if it does happen, then each car 1 mile around will automatically slow each car down.

Re:Four pieces of data and repeaters (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391133)

It is indeed interesting. Under very controlled situations it might be useful. The trouble is that the standard highway is not a very controlled situation. The mesh links would break as traffic separated, or by cars without the networking installed.

GPS coordinates of the message origination vehicle would be good, but estimating how fast your vehicle will arrive at the trouble spot is complicated by erratic driving of any vehicle between you and the trouble spot. Within seconds (the presumed latency of the mesh) the trouble spot could move 100s or 1000s of feet closer to you.

God help you if you are following someone that thinks it would be interesting to run under the back of a large truck at 100mph, or is trying to commit suicide.

Additionally, in the event that the system happens to actually work, what if all network connectivity were halted, blocked, or jammed?

Clearly, this type of system CANNOT be successful without using other sensory data input. The opportunities for things to change faster than your car system can manage is huge.

Re:Four pieces of data and repeaters (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391287)

Within seconds (the presumed latency of the mesh) the trouble spot could move 100s or 1000s of feet closer to you.
That is the point of having the average repeated. As you are driving north, your car would hear about a problem spot numerous times from southbound traffic. Your car can take these reports and conclude that the trouble spot is moving.

God help you if you are following someone that thinks it would be interesting to run under the back of a large truck at 100mph, or is trying to commit suicide.
That is compensated for by averaging. If there is an unsafe driver, a suicidal driver, or even a deliberate lying broadcaster, he gets averaged out. ( Actually the process is a tad more complex. A mode value calculation removes the freaks. Compare that to the average, and you know if there is a freak. )

Additionally, in the event that the system happens to actually work, what if all network connectivity were halted, blocked, or jammed?
Then it devolves back to what it is like now.

Re:Four pieces of data and repeaters (1)

Mithrandir (3459) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391925)

That is compensated for by averaging. If there is an unsafe driver, a suicidal driver, or even a deliberate lying broadcaster, he gets averaged out. ( Actually the process is a tad more complex. A mode value calculation removes the freaks. Compare that to the average, and you know if there is a freak. )


You are way overthinking the problem. Look up the Byzantine Generals Problem. It is solved for you right there and has been for decades.

Byzantine Generals (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392027)

Thanks, but this is more complex. The Byzantine Generals problem deals with data that is discrete, and often binary. The traffic problem deals with data that is continuous.
In other words, in the Byzantine Generals problem, if A != B then B is a different class of data form A. In the traffic problem, A and B may be in the same class - and treated as (A+B)/2 - or they may be different as in the generals problem.

Re:Four pieces of data and repeaters (2, Informative)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391241)

Much of this information can already be obtained from you cell phone company. No need to have it based on a separate device.

I believe a few cities are working on implementing this, Tampa being one of them.

Re:Four pieces of data and repeaters (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391507)

I hope everybody's cell phone has a 3-axis accelerometer.

Deducing acceleration from location has one of two problems: either it is precise enough to constitute proof of speeding ( which will lead to deliberate non-participation ) or it is not precise enough for that in which case accurate values for acceleration cannot be calculated. As my OP says, speed data needs to be deliberately fuzzy. But acceleration values must be very precise.

Re:Four pieces of data and repeaters (1)

fritzenheimer (886192) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391835)

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the San Francisco Bay Area embeds FasTrak toll transponders on area highways to determine traffic conditions in real time. These transponders are in place even outside of toll bridges for the purpose of measuring traffic flow. You can see these traffic conditions at 511.org [511.org].

Re:Four pieces of data and repeaters (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393121)

The only things that need be passed along are current GPS location ( deliberately imprecise by about 20ft )

GPS hasn't been deliberately imprecise since 2000, and systems like WAAS [wikipedia.org] and EGNOS [wikipedia.org] that are fitted to most new in-car GPS systems allow you to get readings typically to within 3-4 feet. The 20 feet you quote above is the typical accuracy of plain GPS when it is not being tampered with by the military, the official spec for GPS (with deliberate imprecision) only guarantees accuracy to within 300ft.

IPv6 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391085)

It's application like this that should make the need for more IP address space obvious. There are other ways, but nothing is so elegantly simple as handling your car's computer as just another device on the network, addressable on the Internet when possible. In the not-too-distant future, it should be possible to access your car's performance data without buying expensive equipment from the manufacturer.

Re:IPv6 (4, Insightful)

JPriest (547211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391239)

In the not-too-distant future, it should be possible to access your car's performance data without buying expensive equipment from the manufacturer.



So you think IPv6 suddenly means auto manufacturers will stop being so proprietary?

Re:IPv6 (1)

TechnicalFool (719087) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391501)

ahref=http://www.silicon.com/publicsector/0,380001 0403,39164553,00.htmrel=url2html-16447 [slashdot.org]http://www.s ilicon.com/publicsector/0,3800010403,39164553,00.h tm> The current British government are pretty keen on technology like this (despite having a tendency to bugger it up a lot), though I think they are more interested in the monetary and surveillance than the safety aspect. Personally I think fuel duty is a pretty effective pay-per-mile implementation, and I'm sure a computer can monitor the road ahead and communicate in a local ad-hoc network without being globally trackable.

Also, the chances of getting hold cheap tuning software in the future is about as likely as getting cheap software now, unless the EFF buys out GM or Ford.

Re:IPv6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392825)

They're missing, perhaps, the most critical part: reducing gas consumption by having traffic signals that talk to other parts of the network and passing the info along to other signals, and other parts of the network.

Re:IPv6 (1)

jackv (1068006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392875)

maybe even sending the information back to the garage that will automatically analyse the data and send you warnings

look for abuse potential before implementation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391121)

As with all things good (and automated), we should be looking for abuse potential before implementation. For instance, could the system be hacked to:

a) provide erroneous information (general nuisance)
b) provide erroneous information to cause intentional lockup (i.e. a special-interests group publicity/demonstration)
c) provide erroneous information so vehicles are forced to not follow in the footsteps of a vehicle (black cars/helicopters that dont want witnesses for some secret CIA operation, yadda yadda)
d) provide erroneous information to create a disruption of traffic flow so a terrorist attack can be carried out without hope of police/military vehicles arriving.

Most of these examples are a stretch, but this sort of thing SHOULD be considered and studied and holes plugged first.

Re:look for abuse potential before implementation (1)

Virtual_Raider (52165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391243)

I'd be more concerned about the potential for abuse by the already abusive and power-hungry government. They are already installing black boxes in automobiles, I see this system ratting out to your friendly highway cruiser that you were speeding a few kms back. [/tinfoil]

Also they would have to have pretty strong and resilient wireless. Right now its a Major PITA to use my Bluetooth stereo headphones to listen music in the mobile for long periods without the connection breaking, and the handset is in my pocket not more than a meter away! I know, I need to upgrade the firmware on the H/S, but that would be the same with the car system. And most likely you'd have to get it done at the dealer, most corner garages won't have the tools to do this just as most repair shops can't upgrade my phones software.

Up with which I will not put (3, Funny)

malia8888 (646496) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391181)

When the motorbike comes after to the point of danger, information has been spread out by wireless network and the danger will be propagated to the driver in the motorbike Dr Anselm Blocher

I read this three times and thought I was retarded. :P

How to evade the Police 101 (1)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391221)

1. Commit Crime
2. Jump inside get away car & drive off.
3. When police begin approaching, connect Laptop into getaway car computer system & insert bogus messages such that they propogate to the Police cars behind & anywhere around you. Wireless amplifiers here will be really useful. Suggested message could be "Bridge Out" which would bring every car on the road to a full STOP so you can just drive around them all.
4. PROFIT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:How to evade the Police 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392803)

You're missing a "????????" step.

Snow crash (3, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391231)

This reminds me of snowcrash:

Out in the world beyond his yard, there are other yards with other doggies just like him. These aren't nasty dogs. They are all his friends.

The closest neighbor doggie is far away, farther than he can see. But he can hear this doggie bark sometimes, when a bad person approaches his yard. He can hear other neighbor doggies, too, a whole pack of them stretching off into the distance, in all directions. He belongs to a big pack of nice doggies.

He and the other nice doggies bark whenever a stranger comes into their yard, or even near it. The stranger doesn't hear him, but all the other doggies in the pack do. If they live nearby, they get excited. They wake up and get ready to do bad things to that stranger if he should try to come into their yard.

When a neighbor doggie barks at a stranger, pictures and sounds and smells come into his mind along with the bark. He suddenly knows what that stranger looks like. What he smells like. How he sounds. Then, if that stranger should come anywhere near his yard, he will recognize him. He will help spread the bark along to other nice doggies so that the entire pack can all be prepared to fight the stranger.

Re:Snow crash (4, Funny)

agent dero (680753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391405)

I know why I'm posting to /. on a saturday night, but I think you just made it blatantly obvious why you are...

Re:Snow crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393789)

I liked his comment. You may be modded funny, but you're an ass anyway.

Seems a bit like overkill (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391307)

I could see using a system like this to relay traffic conditions (IE all the cars on highway 40 are going 5-10mph), but the example cited in the blurb is truly bizarre. Even if you could relay "There is some oil on the road at mile marker 22.5" even if you could use GPS coordinates... How are you going to specify anything besides "right where my wheel went over". In short there is no way to make this information specific enough to actually aid a trailing driver in avoiding the danger.

If this were implemented, I bet it would just set off hundreds of useless warnings which would be ignored and turned off.

Re:Seems a bit like overkill (1)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392033)

> If this were implemented, I bet it would just set off hundreds of
> useless warnings which would be ignored and turned off.

That would be true if designed and configured by Microsoft.

But if properly designed and implemented, carefully configured and throughly tested then such a thing could actually be very useful - especially when it comes to such things as traffic congestion, accidents, etc.

The most important safety benefit... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391403)

.... would come from VoIP connectivity between nearby vehicles. We wouldn't be as prone to road-rage type behavior if we could easily speak with people in adjacent cars. If I could say, "Ahem, excuse me," instead of tailgating and flashing my headlights at the idiot camping in the passing lane, both his and my blood pressure would benefit.

A lot of dangerous/reckless driving behavior comes down to the dehumanizing nature of cars. If you see traffic as a collection of people and not anonymous metal cages, you'll be a more considerate and safer driver.

Automatically spotting and checking for oil on the road... yeah, I guess that's cool, but it's not the most important use of this tech.

Re:The most important safety benefit... (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391437)

Wow, that is high tech.

Imagine if there were some kind of wireless device that could connect all the people in nearby proximity in a single broadcast voice channel. It could be a sort of band set aside for citizens to use. They'd just have to think of some kind of catchy name for it.

Re:The most important safety benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391445)

Sure, but CB was never as ubiquitous as this would be, and it never guaranteed that you'd be able to talk only to people near you.

This would be more like air-traffic communications. You don't see people getting all aggro at each other in their Cessnas, because the ability to communicate via radio enhances pilots' accountability to each other.

Re:The most important safety benefit... (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391473)

You obviously didn't live through the late 70s and early 80s. EVERYONE had CB, at least around here.

Re:The most important safety benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391671)

Don't be a stroke

Re:The most important safety benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391537)

.... would come from VoIP connectivity between nearby vehicles. We wouldn't be as prone to road-rage type behavior if we could easily speak with people in adjacent cars. If I could say, "Ahem, excuse me," instead of tailgating and flashing my headlights at the idiot camping in the passing lane that is already speeding, but I want to go faster like an ass, both his and my blood pressure would benefit.
I fixed that for you.

Re:The most important safety benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391703)

You probably aren't aware that many US states, impeding traffic in the passing lane is against the law regardless of speed. Those signs that say "Slower Traffic Keep Right" and "Keep Right Except To Pass" aren't meant to be suggestions.

Re:The most important safety benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392123)

My typical reaction to tailgating and/or flashing headlights is to brake suddenly and hard. I could use a new car and some time off work recovering from my "whiplash" and would love for an asshole like you to pay for it.

Re:The most important safety benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392193)

Oooh, big man with a keyboard.

I think that's the original A.C.'s point. You'd never have the balls to say that to someone's face, or even over a radio.

Re:The most important safety benefit... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392413)

"Oooh, big man with a keyboard. I think that's the original A.C.'s point. You'd never have the balls to say that to someone's face, or even over a radio." Well if he/she cant sayit to someone on /. without hiding what chance do they have in person?

Re:The most important safety benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393611)

Says he posting with his 1E6+ ID troll account. Try tailgating me sometime. It's happened and will happen every time, "big man".

Re:The most important safety benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392285)

i doubt this would facilitate civility. instead of flashing lights and honking horn, you'd get 'hey, jackass, get the f**k out of my way' instead of hand-gestures, you'd get 'f**k you!' instead of gun-waving, you'd get 'slow down mutha-f**ker, i'm gonna pop a cap in yo ass'

i see no reason for implementing this 'road-network' other than providing another way to jack up the price of cars.

Re:The most important safety benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392391)

The last thing I need is another drive whining to me about were I shouldent park They all-ready yell it out the window why give them the ability to call aswell!

This has a name in the US--VII (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391451)

In the US, this is being studied under the general heading of VII or Vehicle Infrastructure Integration. The general concept is "cars will talk to infrastructure, infrastructure will talk to cars, and cars will talk to cars."

From the USDOT web site: http://www.its.dot.gov/vii/vii_concept.htm/ [dot.gov]

The article refers to an oil slick--those are relatively rare--an if there is an oil slick (or fuel spill), generally there is a crash that would be slowing down traffic anyway. However, the data could be used to dispatch hazmat, or the police. If air bag use is detected, EMS could be alerted automatically.

A better example of a use in northern climes--icy bridges. Currently, many bridges have permanent signs that say "Bridge may be icy" even in August when it is 100*F. The sign isn't much use. However, when the temperature is 35*F and dropping, temperature sensors in the vehicles and bridges could put out a silent warning. If someone brakes on the bridge, slip information from the ABS sensor could be monitored to determine the friction in the bridge deck. Once the bridge deck freezes, a roadside sign upstream of the bridge could be activated to say "Caution, the bridge is slightly/very/black ice. Proceed with caution."

In a larger context, the vehicle fleet could be used to monitor the condition of roads. There is a correlation between the bumpiness of the road and age. The changes in the condition over time can help determine what road maintenance should be undertaken.

Re:This has a name in the US--VII (1)

delvsional (745684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394103)

I have seen those signs. I have also seen reflectors that change color at or near freezing temperatures. I'm not quite sure how they work but they are very helpful when you're not sure whether that big hill is covered in ice or not. btw these are in Truckee, California on Northwoods blvd I believe.

Security implications? (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391567)

What happens when other people can remotely influence the performance of your automobile? There may not be a case for "remote control" (one would hope), but injecting false information into the network about dangerous traffic conditions has implications for other vehicles programmed to respond to it.

I can see it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18391585)

"bikes experiencing problems"

RUN HIM DOWN!

A solution that's going to be a problem (1)

Lazarian (906722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391615)

So when someone is driving along and is told that there's a stretch of road with bad road conditions, they're going to be anticipating it. But while they're before that stretch are they going to be as attentive as if they always have to rely on their own skill and judgment in the meantime? I'm all for technology making everyday life safer (within being rational), but I don't like the idea of "dumbing down" an activity that requires forethought and responsibility such as driving.

For some reason I remember articles from newspapers about some people who, when using their onboard GPS, it advises them to "turn now", and they end up ramming their car into a meridian.

Technology should not be an excuse for people to be stupid and negligent. Especially when it comes to guiding a few thousand pounds of steel in the presence of others.

Re:A solution that's going to be a problem (0, Flamebait)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391665)

>>Technology should not be an excuse for people to be stupid and negligent. Especially when it comes to guiding a few thousand pounds of steel in the presence of others.

Here in the USA, the problem is that the DOT gives anyone with an IQ over 50 a license. I see so many stupid, blind, arrogant people driving everyday. I know they are this because every day on my way to and from work I see many accidents. Up to 5 times a week, my trip to or from work takes double or triple the amount of time it should because of the number of accidents slowing traffic down.

Anything to speed up traffic would be welcomed. I think raising the speed limit from 55 to 60 in my area actually lowered the average rate of speed. When it was 55, there were less accidents causing slowdowns.

I think the real fix is for the DOT to not give out a license to absolutely everyone.

This just in... rain is wet! Roads are slippery! (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391623)

I have a feeling that this will generate too many false positives to be useful.

Also it may lead to a false sense of security. Usually when roads ice up, it's night time, not many cars around to provide data on road condition.

Another nice application (0, Redundant)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391631)

would be notification of speed traps. But then I suppose that the Speeding Ticket Industry Association of America or some such would start poisoning the network with false positives.

It's Been Around for a While (3, Informative)

StormyMonday (163372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18391723)

The network part is very much Old News; it's called Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) [wikipedia.org]. It's been around for several years, and there are a number of standards committees working on it.

Last I heard, a year or so ago, there was a limited rollout planned for some luxury cars in the 2008 model year, with some simple car-to-roadside communications (map updates, traffic signal status, etc).

The new part here is using AI to sort out what information to give to the driver, and how. It's obvious that if you're not careful, you'll swamp the driver in information.

Coupla other items:
  • Spoofing: A problem. Last time I worked on it, they were looking at some digital signature tricks.
  • Privacy: A problem. Basically, every time a radio goes out of contact, it randomizes its MAC address. It'll work fine -- if it's properly implemented. Remember WEP?
  • IPv6: Yuppers. All the way.

Re:It's Been Around for a While (1)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393101)

The network part is very much Old News; it's called Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) [wikipedia.org].

Please Read The Fine Subject. "Peer to Peer Networking...".

You are referring to a network solution where vehicles talk to stationary network gear. Yes, that is old news. When I was a child 30 years ago, such systems were predicted.

However, the article seems to consider a peer-to-peer network where nearby vehicles communicate with each other and relay information to other vehicles which are outside network range of the source. That may be old news to you, but it is not old news to me, and it is not covered by your Wikipedia reference.

But you are right in the AI part being interesting. I think it is interesting even on the network level. How do you decide how far from the source a piece of information needs to travel? Should it travel longer in some directions than other directions? Is it relevant to vehicles travelling in the other direction?

Re:It's Been Around for a While (1)

fmobus (831767) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393289)

Traffic lights prediction would be a kick-ass feature: I imagine a system that could advise the driver the speed range he should remain in to be able to get green light in the next traffic light. This would improve fuel economy (stop & go is bad), reduce brakes and clutch usage, and would also help the traffic flow, mostly because there would be fewer people taking 2 or 3 seconds to realize the light has turned green and they should be moving.

As for the interface, it could be a vertical bar with the speeds range indicated in either green or red (meaning what you will get by going at that speed when you arrive the traffic light) and a pointer saying your current speed. It could even warn if you're approaching too fast a red light.

Re:It's Been Around for a While (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393867)

There are many open questions with VANETs (Vehicular Ad-hoc Networks). Spoofing cannot simply be solved using digital signatures because relying on DS implies a certificate distribution mechanism, for which there is no current support. We would also like to come up with schemes that rely on the least amount of infrastructure as possible.

Another open problem is vehicle location. GPS messages can easily be spoofed, other methods using triangulation, beacons, milemarkers with ID numbers computed via hash chaining, etc. But all of these have some problems.

See "Securing Vehicular Communications - Assumptions, Requirements, and Principles" by Papadimitratos, et al. and "Securing Vehicular Communications" by Raya, et al.

what would be really cool... (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392179)

What is needed is RFID tracking units in all vehicles. They could be randomly distributed and able to be deactivated for the sake of privacy. But the purpose of the system would be to provide traffic information. Traffic reports (at least where I'm from) give qualitative data such as busy, slow, congested, etc etc.

But, if we could track the movement of cars along roads and highways, then we could get average, up to the minute estimates as to how long it would take to get from one point to another. This could be used to great fastest route plans and even load balancing.

It could even be used for fantastic traffic analysis to see which routes were busiest and what times were busiest.

UK Government want to make this mandatory.... (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392817)

.. and the rest of the EU as well.

And make no mistakes, if the US Government thought they could get away with it, they would too.

I'ts ostensibly to support "congestion reduction" through road charging. But there are other ways to implement that that don't require a GPS tracker in your car 24/7.

Re:UK Government want to make this mandatory.... (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392857)

I had always envisioned some enterprising company doing it - a radio station perhaps, so that they can produce really good traffic reports.

Ian

Sounds Super (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392637)

Especially if doesn't stop at oil spots but includes info about police hanging around behind billboard signs as well

Oil Slick? (1)

jhsewell (620291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393523)

Oil slick? Seriously? Does this system also add a button in the middle of my steering wheel that plays "Peter Gunn" and summons the Weapons Van?

Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393851)

I invented this communications model at least 12 years ago after reading 'Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams'. I even designed a protocol for it called ANT/P (Amorphous Network Transmission Protocol). (Acronym is a small nod to the book BTW)

I even wrote it all down and mailed it to myself to get a date stamp.

Object Oriented Trafficking (1)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394037)

This is really good. You could use this technology to eliminate the need for the driver, and the car would drive itself safely to a selected destination, following the rules of the road and brakeing for pedestrians, etc. It's like the ZZT or Megazeux games.
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